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Days at the Coast
Bowling, Dumbarton and Cardross


We took leave of thee, in our last, gentle reader, at the Broomielaw, and at the same classic spot here we are again "well met.” The morning is overcast, and our gaucy friend the manager of the Lochgoilhead steamers, who foregathers with us as he is bustling about on the quay, looks over his spectacles, and remarks portentously, “ Ye’re gaun to ha’e a wat day.” Never mind. There is no truth in weather prophecy, and even if it comes to the worst, there are charms to be found in Nature—especially in Scottish Nature—under every aspect. We like the memory of surly old Samuel Johnson for his utter disbelief in the popular fallacy that atmospherical influences materially affect the spirits of men. He was nearly, if not altogether, right on this point of his creed. We can be happy in spite of the wind or the rain; and let us whisper in thy ear, kind reader, uNo man, woman, or child, can thoroughly appreciate the character of Scottish landscape, or read its deeper meanings, who has not studied its features in storm and in gloom, as well as in its more genial expression?.” Thomson of Duddingstone, Horatio Macculloch, and all the other faithful transcribers of Scotland’s hills and glens, must often have studied beneath u the peltings of the pitiless storm,” and gleaned their harvests of the grand and the beautiful at the expense of a droukit skin. So let us on board the roaring steamer, where we can snap our fingers at the threatening clouds. Passengers are dropping in by ones and twos. Now a solitary bachelor comes, carrying a solitary portmanteau, and wearing a “nobody-cares-for-me” sort of expression; next we have a young couple—he all smiles and attention, she accepting with a pretty condescension the little services so assiduously offered. How delightfully conscious are the glances of the maiden! It is no business of ours, however, and our sympathies would rather lead us to scan the movements and manifestations of this family group, who are evidently on their way to some sweet summer residence at the coast. How patriarchal-looking among his young people is “Pa!” how evidently full of motherly care and pride, the good lady who is so frequently, and from all sides, addressed as “Ma! ” But the bell rings, the roaring funnel suddenly becomes mute, the connecting ropes are flung over the side, the paddles, after a hesitating plash or two, move steadily on, and the quay, with its onlookers, its porters, and its police, glides gradually away. We are now fairly off, and proceeding with moderate speed down the long avenue of ships that leadeth to the sea. Casting a backward eye, as we plough the centre of the stream, what a fine glance of the city we obtain, with its stately bridges spanning the waters, its lengthened ranges of building towering on either side, and its lofty spires uplifting their glittering vanes beyond the multitudinous wreathes of ever-rising smoke! We know not where a more impressive urban prospect than this may be found, and somehow it invariably awakens in our mind a dream of Venice, that ancient mistress of commerce and dwelling-place of merchants who were as princes among men. The downward vista is equally fine in its own way. On either hand stretches the long train of ships at rest, with their naked spars bristling in the air, and here and there a bit of sail unfurled, or a streamer waving lazily in the breeze; while the midchannel is fretted with buoys, and boats passing and repassing between the opposite lines of quay. We soon leave the bustle of the harbour behind, however, when the clink of countless hammers closing rivets up, noisily greets the ear, from the various spacious building-yards which we successively pass on either side of the river. There is something peculiarly impressive in the sight of these vast leviathans in process of preparation for the battle with wind and wave. Some in the shape of gigantic skeletons, mere things of ribwork and keel; and others in all the intermediate stages between the simplest rudimental framework and that of perfect completion, when, dad in mail, the stately structure seems as if it were instinct with life, and eager to rush into its future element. There is not one of these fast-growing vessels but is a study of the beautiful Grace and strength are united in their finely curved lines; and be assured that on whatever seas they may be henceforth destined to ply, or in whatever ports they may yet cast anchor, they will each abundantly sustain the credit of the Clyde builders.

But our steamer is rapidly pursuing its way. Govan, with its still half-rural aspect and its handsome church—a counterpart, we are assured, of that of Shakspere’s Stratford —is now before us. On the opposite side we have, at the debouchure of the Kelvin, the stately shipbuilding premises of Messrs. Tod & Macgregor, the originators of iron architecture as applied to the construction of vessels, and among the most enterprising promoters of its subsequent advancement. A glance of Partick and its gentle slopes, adorned with ranges of neat cottages and villas, is also obtained as we glide along; while Gartnavel, that melancholy palace of the 44 mind diseased,” is seen in the distance, solitary and aweinspiring. How swiftly the ramifications of the city are extending in this direction! Partick on the one hand and Govan on the other are assuredly destined to be swallowed up at no distant date. Already the antennae of the approaching monster are being pushed vigorously out. The connecting lines are filling up year by year, and the process of complete absorption will, ere long, be consummated. Pleasant little rural communities were ye both in the days of our boyhood—the one famous for “caller sawmon and sheep’s-head kail,” and the other for “crumpie cakes” and cheese. Then nothing more rude was heard in your precincts than the murmur of the stream, the monotonous clack of the flour mill, or the crowing of the household cock. How changed is everything about you now! The smoke and the din of ever-increasing manufactures have invaded the primitive quietness which then spread around, and the stormy battering of multitudinous hammers has effectually frightened the rural deities from their ancient abode. How we loved to meditate among the tombs in the silence of that old elm-encircled churchyard! There we first saw the snowdrop waving its genty blossoms on the green mansions of departed mortality, and felt the beauty of the doctrine which it so sweetly symbolized. There every tombstone was an old acquaintance—every epitaph a thrice-told tale. But, alas! for the silence and the seclusion of the auld kirkyard, discord has usurped the place of peace; and their sleep must indeed be sound who rest undisturbed by the ringing tumult which now fills our ears I For some miles below Govan the country on both sides of the river is flat and comparatively uninteresting. It is not without charms, however, although these would certainly be more appropriate in an English than a Scottish landscape. Rich alluvial plains on either hand spread far around, intersected by hedgerows and belts of planting, with here and there an elegant mansion, or a snug farm-steading girdled with trees. The most noticeable edifices are Linthouse, Shieldhall, and Elderslie House on the left, with the mansion of Scotstown on the right. Passing these, we touch at the wharf at Renfrew, that most ancient burgh (situated six miles below Glasgow), which has now the honour of giving the title of Baron to the Prince of Wales, as it did for many ages to the eldest sons of our Scottish kings. The Clyde is here joined by a small sluggish and most unpoetical stream yclept the Pudyeoch. There is a row of neat houses, including several places of refreshment on the shore, with an extensive shipbuilding establishment, but the town itself is about half a mile inland. On the opposite bank is the small village of Yoker; with Yoker House and Yoker Lodge, two elegant structures, in the immediate vicinity. Renfrew is considered to be the most ancient town in the extensive shire to which it gives a name, although, as every one knows, it has been far outrivalled in extent and importance by several of the more modern communities in the district. There are evidences of its existence as early as the reign of David the First, and its constitution <as a burgh dates as far back as 1396, when the Third Robert held sway in our land. For a lengthened period Renfrew had extensive fishing privileges on the Clyde, and according to Crawfurd, the county historian, it had at one time a little foreign trade, and more recently a commercial connection with Ireland. In the arms’ of the burgh there is the representation of a ship, with the motto "Deus Gubemat Navem,” from which we may conclude, that the good people of Renfrew were somewhat vain of their nautical superiority. The town presents but few attractions to the stranger. Resuming our downward course, we pass, on the left, about a mile below Renfrew, the handsome residence of Mr. Campbell of Blyths-wood, deliciously situated on a green plain, tastefully dotted and partially screened by trees. This spacious mansion is situated immediately adjacent to the junction of the mingled streams of the Cart and Gryffe with the Clyde at the “Watemeb.” The observant passenger obtains at this spot a prospect of great beauty and of considerable extent. Looking southward we have a fine stretch of the Cart, with Colin’s Isle densely wooded in the foreground; the church tower of Inchinnan in the middle distance, peering over masses of foliage; and the spires of Paisley rising beyond, in marked relief against the bold background of the GlenifFer braes. Old Pennant, who had a keen eye for the picturesque, remarks in his Tour in Scotland that the scenery here “is the most elegant 'and softest of any in North Britain.” The picture, as seen from the deck of the passing steamer, is, in truth, one of great loveliness, and fully bears out the favourable opinion of the venerable naturalist, who c was one of the first English travellers who penetrated into the wild recesses of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and revealed to his countrymen their romantic peculiarities of landscape.

Our eager steamer, however, lingers not, whatever may be the attractions of the country through which she is ploughing her way. Onward, still onward, she plies, with a glittering trail of foam in her wake, and closely followed by continuous diverging waves, which rush along the river walls on either side, and cause a sad commotion among the tall reeds and grasses. Now an upward bound steamer goes dashing past, as if on an errand of life and death; then some tiny craft is seen struggling laboriously against the stream, by aid of oar and sail; and anon some sturdy little tug comes puffing along with a train of stately merchantmen in leading strings—an indomitable dwarf dragging a brace of lubberly giants into captivity. There is ever an abundance of interest and excitement on the lower reaches of the Clyde. Newshot Isle goes past on the left; Dalmuir Works slip out of sight on the right; then, in the same direction, among the swelling hills, Duntocher chimneys look down upon us, with the mansions of Mountblow and Auchentoshan adorning the intervening slopes. About a mile farther down, there stood, in our remembrance, on the left bank of the river, a dreary old house, which was said to have been the residence in bygone ages of the Semples of Beltrees, a family in which the poetic gift was hereditary. "Habby Simson’s Elegy,” “Maggie Lauder,” and u She rose and loot me in,” for aught we know, may have been penned within its walls. The place which knew it once knows it no more. Not one stone remains to prate of its whereabouts. Its ghost, however, still continues to haunt our memory; and we seldom pass the spot without casting a suspicious glance in the direction of its site, and half anticipating the old familiar frown with which it seemed to greet us in former days. The lofty Kilpatrick hills are now drawing near, with their bosky crests enveloped in gray wreaths of mist, and looming ominously. That verdant knoll to the right, with the cottage on its brow, is the celebrated Dalnotter, and we can tell thee, gentle reader, if thou hast not yet scaled that “coigne of vantage,” that a delicious draught of beauty there awaits thy acceptance. Those who are old enough to remember the Queen Street Theatre of Glasgow, will also remember the gorgeous drop-scene, by Naismith, which was the admiration of all beholders. The subject was the Clyde as seen from Dalnotter. The transcript was universally admitted to be admirable, and before it was burned with the edifice which it adorned, five hundred pounds were offered for it, and refused. In one little hour the work of genius was dust and ashes. Ascend any day that modest elevation, and the glorious original, to which no mortal pencil can ever do full justice, awaits thy inspection.

We are now at the portal of the Frith. Passing Erskine Ferry, with the tastefully wooded lawns and slopes around Blantyre House on the one side, and the swelling ridges of the Kilpatrick range on the other, with the village of the same name nestling at its base, the river is seen widening away in the distance, and gradually assuming the aspect of a hill-environed lake. Often as we have gazed upon the prospect which now bursts upon us, it never fails to excite in our mind a new and a sweet surprise. On the one hand, Nature wears an aspect of softest sylvan loveliness; on the other, her features are wild and stem, as becomes the land of the mountain and the flood. We could almost fancy, indeed, that the Highlands and the Lowlands had here drawn near unto each other, and were holding friendly communion across the neutral Clyde. In graceful curves, and smoothest sandy beaches, skirted with freshest verdure, appears the southern shore, while the northern juts out in fretful points, and rises over the vale with a scarred and precipitous majesty. Saint Patrick, as every good Catholic knows, or ought to know, was a native of that little hamlet to our right, which rears its handsome church-tower in the immediate vicinity of the river. A more beautiful birthplace he could not have selected; and we have no patience with the wretches who would insinuate that “his mother kept a whisky-shop in the town of Enniskillen,” or anywhere else. No, no! a Scotchman he was, and a Scotchman he must remain to the end of the chapter! or, as Shakspere more poetically expresses it, "to the last syllable of recorded time.” We owe a thing or two to Ireland, but for the blessing of a patron saint, she is undoubtedly our debtor. The fact is perfectly palpable; but, if additional evidence were wanted, we should at once find it in the; honest antipathy to frogs and toads, and other cold-blooded “varmint.” Every genuine Scot (always excepting the philosophers), and we take ourselves to be of the number, has, instinctively, an abhorrence to every species of the Batrachian genus. So had St. Patrick; mark that; and we only regret that he did not “sarve” those detestable creatures in his native country as he did in that of his adoption. Pennant says, “St. Patrick took on himself the charge of Ireland, founded there 865 churches, ordained 365 bishops, 3,000 priests, converted 12,000 persons in one district, baptized seven kings at once, established a purgatory, and with his staff effectually expelled every reptile that stung or croaked.” What a jewel of a saint he must have been, and how grateful ought Ould Ireland to be to the green valley of Clyde, for giving her such a benefactor! Off hats, gentlemen, to St. Patrick’s birthplace.

But we have more ancient associations than those of Saint Patrick in connection with the locality which we are now passing. About a quarter of a mile to the westward of Kilpatrick is a gentle eminence which bears the name of the Chapelhill. This elevation, which commands a fine view of the opening Frith, with Dunglass and Dumbarton standing proudly on its marge, is considered by the most trustworthy antiquaries to have been the western termination of the great Roman Wall, which extended between the estuaries of the Forth and the Clyde. Dunglass, Dumbarton, and even Balloch at the foot of Lochlomond, have all been mentioned as the probable sites of the terminal fort on this gigantic bulwark; but from recent researches, it is now reckoned all but certain that this was the spot where the invaders finished their work. When digging the Canal, which here approaches the edge of the river, the workmen found, in a subterranean recess, a variety of vases, coins, and monumental tablets, all of which were of Roman origin. A number of these relics are deposited in the Hunterian Museum (which is something similiar to being re-interred), while others have found their way into private repositories. Future excavations at Chapelhill will doubtless bring many other relics of this description to light. The ground is almost virgin; and if anywhere along the line of the vast Wall, we may reasonably look for such remains at this important post, which in the days of Antonine must have been covered with fortifications of more than ordinary strength.

After a bold sweep from north to south, the Kilpatrick range, as it approaches the Clyde at this point, suddenly turns towards the west, running for a couple of miles or so in a parallel direction to the stream, until it comes to an abrupt termination in the rugged headland of Dumbuck. This mountainous rampart is highly picturesque in outline, being scarred and furrowed by wild gorges and precipitous clifls, the haunts of hawks and other birds of prey. Glenar-buck is the most romantic of these indentations. It seems to have been produced by some awful terrene convulsion; and seen even from the deck of the passing steamer, its features are strikingly impressive and grand. On the slopes between the base of the hills and the water is the fine mansion of Glenarbuck, girdled with foliage, and farther down, that of Auchentorlie; while in the more immediate vicinity of the river are seen, in succession, the villages of Bowling, Little-mill, Milton, and Dumbuck, with numerous detached cottages peeping from their own sweet nooks, and generally surrounded by flower-plots and gardens. Our landing-place is Bowling Wharf, and in little more than an hour from the time at which we left the Broomielaw we are once again on terra firma. There is a locomotive in waiting to convey passengers to Dumbarton, the Yale of Leven, and Lochlomond. Such is not the route, however, which we at present intend to pursue. Our course is toward Dumbarton, but we prefer the highway to the rail in the meantime, as it will afford us the liberty of digression. Leaving Bowling, therefore (which, as our readers are aware, is the western terminus of the Forth and Clyde Canal), and declining the hospitalities of Frisky Hall, a favourite inn which is immediately adjacent, we proceed a short distance westward to Dunglass. This is a small rocky promontory which juts out into the Clyde, and is surmounted by the ruins of an ancient castle, which belonged at one period to the family of Colquhoun. Only a portion of the external walls is now in existence. The interior is used as a flower-plot by the proprietor of a picturesque cottage, in the old Scottish style of architecture, which has been erected contiguous to the shattered edifice of other days, and which harmonizes appropriately with it. As seen from the water, with its antique loopholes and windows, overrun with a green mantle of ivy, and crowned with an obelisk, raised to the memory of Henry Bell, the originator of steam navigation on the Clyde, the old castle undoubtedly forms a picture of considerable beauty. Of its history exceedingly little is known. The site is supposed by some authorities to have been at one period occupied by a Roman fort. Others have imagined that it was the western termination of the great wall constructed by the invaders between the Friths of Forth and Clyde. As we have previously mentioned, however, there is reason to believe that this structure had its abutment on the river at a somewhat higher point. It may not improbably have been a military outpost of the Roman army. Pennant, in his tour, mentions a legendary story of this edifice, to the effect that it was blown up by an English page, out of revenge for some slight which his master, the Earl of Haddington, had put upon him. The legend really belongs to another Dunglass Castle, on the east coast, which was destroyed by an explosion of gunpowder in 1640, when the Earl of Haddington and a number of other gentlemen were killed among the ruins. The monument of Bell, a somewhat stunted obelisk, was erected in 1839, on the highest point of the rock. The situation is appropriate, as it overlooks the channel on which Bell’s first successful experiment was made, and where, perhaps, its noblest results have been subsequently manifested. All honour to the memory of Henry Bell!

After lingering for some time on the rock of Dunglass, which commands a delightful prospect of the Clyde, with the house and policies of Blantyre immediately opposite, we return to the highway, and resume our westward progress. The immense crest of Dumbuck, after we pass the Milton Printworks a little to our right, now swells upon our gaze with most impressive effect. We at once resolve to place our foot upon the monster’s brow. Turning aside for that purpose, we are soon threading the mazes of a devious footpath which conducts the visitor to the summit. Beautiful in truth is the course of that steep, winding way, overhung, as it is, by tangled boughs, and brightened at every turn by the blooming children of June. Wilding roses greet us with blushes as we go, and breathe their fragrance in our very face. Sweet amid the green brackens rises the bush o’ broom with its golden tassels waving in the wind. Now we are in the midst of a group of stately foxgloves, which seem as if we had taken them by surprise, and hang their heads like a bevy of modest maidens taken unawares at play. Their confusion is really too much for us, so we hurry on until our eye is caught by a meek family of mingled pansies and speedwells, who look up beseeching from a verdant nook, and compel us to our knee in fervent admiration. But we cannot tell thee, reader, of all the fair things which minister to our delectation on this wood-environed hill, nor of the many musical voices (those of the cushat and the merle being preeminent) which hail us on oar way. At length we emerge from the green gloamin’ of tHe sylvan slopes into the light of noon upon the lofty forehead of Dumbuck. What a gush of loveliness at once flows upon our sight! To the worshipper of the beautiful the sensation excited by such a sweep of scenery is worth at least a monarch’s ransom. Mutely we seat ourselves upon the now prostrate flagstaff, and feast our eyes, ever and anon turning, and at every turn welcoming a new picture. ’Twere in vain that we should attempt to anatomize such a comprehensive panorama. The attempt and not the deed would in very truth confound us. Yet we must indicate the prominent features of the several succeeding landscapes. Looking eastward, then, we have the Clyde wriggling in light away to the vicinity of Glasgow, with the Cathkin hills bounding the immense basin of the river, while the conical peak of Tinto looms far beyond in hazy indistinctness. Turning to the south, we have the opening Frith at our feet, with steamers and other craft passing and repassing, while the rich plains and undulations of Renfrewshire are spread as in a map beyond, with all their towns and villages, and mansions and farms, clearly distinguishable, and circled as with a giant frame, by the Mearns, Gleniffer, and Port-Glasgow hills. Westward is seen Dumbarton town and tower, with the Yale of Leven from Balloch to the Clyde, and the noble Frith beyond stretching away in the sunny distance to Bute and Arran; while to the north there is a bleak wilderness of barren moors, terminating in a confused multitude of mountain peaks, deep amidst which is seen a fine snatch of Lochlomond, with Inchmurrin peeping at us round the dusky shoulder of an intervening hill. Such is our skeleton of the wide domain commanded by Dumbuck, and the veriest skeleton it is in reality. An abler pen could alone do anything like justice to the infinite details, to the lights and the shadows, to the ever-varying colours, and, in short, to the life of the wondrous picture. Our day has proved better than its promise. Not that it has become by any means one of unbroken brightness. The reverse is the case. Radiance and gloom are evidently struggling for supremacy. Nature at present reminds us of Joe Grimaldi —forgive the incongruous association—who could laugh on one side of his face while he was looking daggers with the other. The lowlands and the river are now basking in a smile of sunshine, while there is an ominous frown hanging over the highland landscape which excites feelings akin to terror within our breast. Not in the very heart of the Highlands is there a track of moorland more bleak and sterile than that which rises eastward from the green Yale of Leven to the Longcraigs and the adjacent expanse of wilderness. The plough has never passed over these dark ridges, where the pesewepe, the plover, and the whaup, have long reigned in a seldom disturbed solitude. How finely marked are the hoary trap cliffs to the right, rising like the steps of a giant stair in successive ranges! The geologist would rejoice in their characteristic features. But the gloom deepens among the mountains. Benlomond disappears, and the nearer hills have donned their plaids of mist, while, “ in the scowl of heaven,” the very loch looks dark and disquieted. It is with a sense of relief that we turn again to the placid and sunny lowlands. Before us lies the clear, waveless bosom of the Clyde, all alive with shipping. Beyond is the verdant plains and gentle slopes of Renfrew, where the blue reek is curling peacefully from cottage and hall, and the courses of the swift-gliding trains are indicated by the manes of snowy vapour. ’Tis a scene of industry, of plenty, and of softest beauty. On the rich domains which now lie within our ken many of Scotland’s noblest families have “lived and moved and had their being.” Let us borrow a few of their names from “The Clyde” of John Wilson, although, since his day, some have passed for ever away from the homes of their fathers:—

"Of all the clans that grace fair Renfrew's soil,
The first in power appears the potent Lyle,
Whose blood with graceful Egiinton’s still blends;
In Pollok’s veins and Houston's still descends
The Dennistouns of ancient wealth and fame;
The Crawfords brave, an old illustrious name;
Lindsay's high blood with ancient Barclay's joins,
And first of Scottish Earls in glory shines.
Here Wallace shone, a race of matchless might,
Gentle in peace, but terrible in fight!
The fame of Wallace never can expire,
While Scottish breasts heroic deeds admire.
And friendship hither Ross from England drew,
The royal Bruce’s fortunes to pursue;
And hence the faithful race of Erskine springs,
Marr’s Lords, the guardians of our youthful kings;
Bat high o’er all. the chiefs of Banquo’s race,
Illustrious Stuarts dignified the place."

Such is the good old bard’s catalogue of Renfrewshire names. Prosaic enough it is, in all conscience, and wofully incomplete; but it may serve as an index to the historical associations of those wide and fertile domains upon which we are now gazing.

The summit of Dumbuck is exquisitely adorned at this season by a profusion of leaves and flowers; and even before the majesties of Nature we can turn with delight to the contemplation of her humblest children. We scan the foreground of our picture with a closeness of attention which would win us the friendship of a pre-Raphaelite. Creeping over the gray crags, see how the yellow locks of the broom are touzled by the wind. The crimson bells of the heather, the beautiful badge of our own clan, warm at the same time the lonely steeps of the hill and the inmost nooks of our heart. The gowan peeps at us from the velvet sward, with the stonecrop and the fairy bedstraw; while the wild thyme grows in purple luxuriance, and tempts to its honied bosom the belted bee of the sunny vales below. Among the dark pines, which crowd around us also, the redbreast and the shilfa are piping a summer song. ’Tis indeed a sweet spot, gentle reader! and we must even bid thee, in the meantime, good-bye upon it, as here we intend to abide for a season. If thou wilt favour us with thy company, we shall next conduct thee to Dumbarton, and to the death-scene of Robert the Bruce.

We have alluded to the delicious upward view of the Clyde which is to be obtained from the brow of Dumbuck. Like an immense silver corkscrew, or one of those sinuous brands which the old painters sometimes put into the hands of an angel warrior, the stream is seen extending far away into the bowels of the land. This stretch of the river is the scene of Glasgow’s greatest victory—her victory over those natural barriers in the shape of shallow fords, rocks, and isles, which originally seemed to forbid her achievement of commercial success. Long and arduous was the struggle with adverse nature, but the industry and perseverance of our citizens have at length been rewarded with an ample triumph. No river in the world is so much indebted to artificial improvement as the Clyde in the lower portion of its course. In its primitive condition the river was scarcely navigable by any craft of larger dimensions than a fisherman’s wherry. At an early period the process of deepening commenced, but it was not until a comparatively recent date that the work made anything like decided progress. In 1556 the inhabitants of Glasgow, Renfrew, and Dumbarton, entered into a mutual contract to work for six weeks alternately in summer at the ford of Dumbuck, and other shoals which encumbered the channel and impeded navigation. By these efforts a sufficient depth of water was obtained to permit the passage of flat-bottomed boats from the Frith to the landing-shore at Glasgow, which was then without a wharf of any kind. In 1688 a small quay was erected at the Broomielaw, at an expense of 80,000 merks Scots, or £1,666 18s. 4d. sterling. This structure extended from St. Enoch’s bum to the vicinity of Robertson Street. About the middle of the last century the magistrates engaged earnestly in the work of improving the Clyde. Mr. Smeaton, the celebrated engineer, was commissioned to inspect the river, and to draw up a report on its navigable capabilities. In 1755 he handed in a statement showing the results of his investigations. At the Pointhouse, two miles below Glasgow, he found there was only one foot three inches of water when the tide was out, and three feet eight inches when it was at the highest. This gentleman proposed the construction of a dam, with a lock at the Marlin ford, for the purpose of securing four and a-half feet of water at the Broomielaw. Fortunately, the scheme was not carried into effect, although an Act of Parliament was obtained with that view. Mr. John Golbourne of Chester was next engaged to report as to the best means of improving the Clyde. He found the river almost in a state of nature, and that at Kilpatrick Sands, Newshot Isle, and in various other places, there was not more than two feet of water. He suggested that the channel should be contracted for eight miles below Glasgow by the erection of jetties, and that the bed of the river should be deepened by dredging. Ultimately he was empowered to carry out the proposed operations, and in 1775 he succeeded in his endeavours to such an extent, that vessels drawing upwards of six feet of water were enabled to reach the Broomielaw. This was the first great step in that work of improvement which has subsequently made such rapid progress. Since that period, the services of several engineers of the highest abilities have been successively devoted to the improvement of the stream, and generally with the happiest results. Year by year the resources of the Clyde have been gradually developed. Its waters have been walled in by impenetrable embankments of stone, and deepened to such a degree that the stateliest merchantmen, and steamers of the most gigantic proportions, now pass and repass from Glasgow to the sea, uninterruptedly and without the shadow of danger. Unceasing efforts, however, are required to preserve the conquest which has been made. The dredging-machine and the diving-bell are of necessity kept ever at work; and were the energies of “the Trust” permitted even for a brief period to slumber, we should soon have the Clyde as in days of old, encumbered with shallows and unfavoured by the smiles of commerce. Such a consummation, we are happy to say, is not likely to occur in our day and generation.

We must now leave our lofty station on the summit of Dumbuck. The day is advancing, and we have other sights to see before its close. Like a monarch we have felt while seated alone on this proud peak, with none to question our sway. For a brief space the beauty of these wide-spread domains has been the unshared tribute of our solitary ken. Lords of the soil there may be, who call these hills and vales their own, but we have been for the time sole lord of the loveliness in which earth, and air, and sea are invested. Our reign, however, is of short duration. Pride must have a fall, and relinquishing our throne, we must even descend to the level of ordinary mortals. Taking with us, as a memorial of our visit, a tuft of heather from the scalp of the hill, we plunge again into the woodland walk, and with all humility, stooping beneath the overhanging boughs, pursue our downward course. Fresh charms await our acceptance at every turn. New blossoms seem to have sprung into being by the wayside since we made our ascent. What a sweet coquette is June! You never find her retaining the same dress for two consecutive days, scarcely for two succeeding hours. She is always changing her garb; now adding a leaf, and anon a flower to her scented garniture. At one time her rosebuds are faintly tipped with bloomy fire; at another we find her all a-blush with full-blown flowers, and playfully strewing the rich red petals on the passing breeze. Narrowly, as with a lover’s eye, have we scanned her movements, and at every meeting we have had to own her infinite variety. We passed that dry stone-wall in going up, yet we saw not the yellow iris by its side, and now there they are in nodding multitudes, peeping with their sword-shaped leaves athwart its mossy ridge. How bright the combination of green and gold in which they are dad! Truly, “Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like unto one of these! ”

We are now upon the highway, and before us, about two miles to the westward, towers the castled steep of Dumbarton. ’Tis the landmark to which we must direct our steps. Having swallowed Dumbuck, we need not, according to the old saying, boggle at Dumbarton. The latter has, indeed, rather a diminutive appearance as we turn from the bold basaltic front of its gigantic neighbour. The intervening space consists principally of fertile meadow land, which is principally in a high state of cultivation. After the late rains the fields are at present most luxuriantly covered with verdure. The road withal is a pleasant one, fringed with hedgerows and trees, and commanding to the left a succession of delightful prospects, in all of which the Clyde is a predominant element. As there is nothing particularly noticeable, however, on this portion of our pilgrimage, we may as well beguile the way by taking a brief retrospective glance at the history of that immense gray rock which looms majestically before us, at the meeting of the waters.

To begin, then, we may mention that the rock of Dumbarton, or Dunbarton, as it ought properly to be called, is situated on a kind of peninsula at the junction of the river Leven with the Clyde. It is an isolated and precipitous basaltic crag, starting abruptly from a dead flat, and rising to an elevation of about 206 feet above the level of the sea. It is cleft at a considerable height into two peaks, one of which is about thirty feet higher than the other. The general configuration of the rock is extremely picturesque, while its immense bulk, and its wild, overhanging cliffs, and jagged projections, are sufficiently grand and impressive. The name of the locality signifies the fort or castle of the Bretons. Originally it appears to have borne the name of Alduyd, or “ the rock of the Clyde,” under which title it is mentioned by the venerable Bede, as the capital, in his day, of a small kingdom called Strathclyde. Balclutha and other names have also been at various times attached to this remarkable elevation. It is supposed that the Romans had a military or naval station here,—a supposition which is rendered probable by certain vestiges which are still in existence. At an early period it became a royal fortress, and the Scottish kings seem to have been always peculiarly jealous of its possession. During the wars of Bruce and Baliol, it fell into the hands of the usurper Edward, and it is traditionally said that the great Scottish patriot, Wallace, was confined for a brief period within its walls, after his betrayal by Menteith. This fause knight was made governor of the castle by Edward, probably as the reward of his treachery. In 1309 it was taken by Robert the Bruce, and subsequently, in the fluctuations of internecine strife, it changed hands many times. It was visited by Mary, Queen of Scots, in her girlhood; and when she was about to sail for France, it was at Dumbarton that she embarked with her retinue, included in which were the three Marys of Scottish song. In the latter part of her reign it was also held in her interest, and it was while she was attempting to reach Dumbarton with her army, after the escape from Lochleven, that the battle of Langside occurred. This fatal blow, it is well known, ruined for ever poor Mary’s hopes of regaining the crown, and she was fain to flee for shelter to England. Lord Fleming, the governor, however, still kept the castle in her name, and a number of her friends found refuge within its precincts. It was at this period that Captain Thomas Crawford, of Jordanhill, performed the bold exploit of scaling the castle walls and taking the fortress by storm. Crawford was an adherent of the Lennox family, and personally attached to the husband of the Queen, the unfortunate Daraley. After the foul death of this unhappy individual, he gave important evidence at the trial, and boldly charged Maitland of Lethington with being an accessory to the murder. It is supposed that he afterwards assumed the profession of arms, and that he took an active part in the various movements which took place in opposition to the Queen’s authority. He was assisted in his enterprise against Dumbarton by the Laird of Drumwhassel, a skilful officer,

Captain Hume, and a band of about a hundred picked men. Arriving at the rock, on a dark and tempestuous night in the month of May, 1571, with scaling ladders and ropes, the party, under the guidance of a man named Robertson, who had been warden of the castle, proceeded at once to the attack. On the first attempt they experienced some difficulty in fixing their ladders, and, even after these had been properly secured, an incident occurred which had nearly prevented the accomplishment of their design. One of the soldiers, when midway up the ladder, was seized with a fit, and convulsively grasped the steps with such a death-like firmness of gripe, that no one could relax his hold. Crawford, with the utmost coolness, bound the poor man to the ladder, and turning it over, permitted a clear ascent. Alexander Ramsay, an ensign, soon reached the summit, and, with two other soldiers, leaped upon the sentinel, and slew him just as he had given the alarm. They were soon joined by Crawford and his men, who rushed into the garrison, awakening the inmates with the startling war-cry of 44 a Damley! a Darnley! ” The surprise was so complete that no effective resistance was even attempted. The governor escaped down a passage of the rock with which he was familiar, and throwing himself into a fishing-boat, succeeded in reaching the coast of Argyle in safety. Hamilton, Bishop of St. Andrews—a steel-clad ecclesiastic—was taken, with a number of other gentlemen, and Lady Fleming, the governor’s wife. The lady was treated with the greatest kindness by the Regent, and courteously permitted to depart with their furniture and plate. A very different fate awaited the poor Bishop, who was generally disliked. He was immediately thereafter tried at Stirling for the murder of Damley, and, being found guilty, was executed with 44short shrift” upon a tree. In the seizure of the castle, the assailants did not lose a single man, and only four of the garrison were slain. There are few instances of 44 derring-do,” even in Scottish history, to be compared with that which we have thus imperfectly narrated. Of Captain Crawford’s subsequent career but little is known. This one exploit, however, is sufficient to preserve his name from oblivion. His memory will be for ever associated with the rock of Dumbarton, and a nobler memorial-stone it would be difficult to imagine. But there is another monument to our hero in existence. It stands in the shadow of the curious old kirk of Kilbimie, where the ancient warrior “ sleeps the sleep that knows no breaking.” In the course of a recent ramble in Ayrshire we accidentally discovered this interesting relic. It is a little quadrangular edifice of sandstone, nine feet long by six in width, and about six feet in height. In the east end there is a narrow aperture, through which, in the interior, are seen recumbent figures of the old soldier and his spouse, in an excellent state of preservation. On the northern wall is the following inscription, which can only be deciphered now by the keen eye of the antiquary:—

“GOD SCHAW
THE RICHT

Here lyis Thomas Crawford of Jordanhill, sext son to Lawrence Crawfurd of Kilbimie, and Jonet Kerr His Spous eldest dochter to Robert Ker of Kerrisland—1594.” In the central compartment is a shield with the arms of the Crawfurd and Ker families quartered, and an indistinct figure for the crest, which is supposed to represent the rock of Dumbarton. The gallant captain, by whom the structure was erected at the above date, died on the third of January, 1603, about thirty-two years after his gallant midnight achievement.

The subsequent history of the castle presents but few features of importance. At the commencement of the civil wars it was held in the interest of the king. It was taken afterwards, however, in 1639, by the opposite party. The Scottish Parliament about this time ordered the castle to be dismantled, but the decree, it appears, was never put in execution; and Oliver Cromwell took possession of the place in 1652. In the reign of Queen Anne the Duke of Montrose resigned the castle into the hands of Government, and it has ever since remained a Royal fortress. At the union of the two crowns it was distinctly stipulated that the Castle of Dumbarton, with those of Edinburgh, Stirling, and Blackness, should, from that time forth, be kept in an effective condition.

Drawing near to the town of Dumbarton, we are joined by a friend who is abundantly familiar with the locality, and who courteously volunteers to act as our guide, when we at once turn aside to scale the castle rock, which rises in rude magnificence at a short distance to the left. On the northern side, by which we make our approach, the declivity of the rock is less steep and shaggy in its aspect than at other points of its circumference. The slope is here covered with green turf, fretted with craggy projections to a considerable height, where it is girdled by a high wall and other buildings, with loopholes and embrazures for cannon. The attack of Captain Crawford is said to have been made at this place, which is certainly the most accessible of any, if we except the ordinary entrance, which in times of war would of course be the most strongly fortified and guarded. Soldiers have frequently been known at lawless hours, and in pursuit of forbidden pleasures, to make their way out of the garrison by this route, and after a few hours9 absence, to return by it to their duties without being discovered. This is certainly an illustration with a vengeance of the old song,—

“Over rocks that are steepest Love will find out a way.”

Only a siren, we suspect, should ever tempt us to risk our neck, by making such a perilous descent in the dark. But,

“The light that lies In woman’s eyes "

(may the Fates preserve us from its influence at such a price!) has unquestionably led to more daring adventures even than this. Turning the eastern shoulder of the rock, which is of immense height and of the most dizzying steepness, we soon arrive at the gateway. There is a soldier on guard, and two or three lounging about for the purpose of attending visitors in their peregrinations over the castle. One of them volunteers to act as our cicerone, and his services are at once accepted. The garrison at present is about thirty strong, including wives and children; no great force, one would think, to receive the Russians, if by any chance Charlie Napier should permit them to favour us with a visit.* Ascending a few steps, we find ourselves alongside the governor’s residence, a very plain two-storied edifice of somewhat dreary aspect, which occupies a recess near the base of the rock. A few yards in front of this structure there is a small battery, the guns of which are of considerable calibre, each having a pile of shot neatly arranged beside it, and apparently ready for action. Everything here has a clean and tidy appearance, indicative of unceasing care.

Immediately in the rear of the governor's house, we ascend the steep by a lengthened range of steps through a cutting of some depth in the living rock. At an intermediate landing-place there is a small structure over-arching the narrow passage, in which, it is said, Wallace was confined after he was taken prisoner in the vicinity of Glasgow. We should imagine from its appearance, however, that it has really been erected at a much more recent period than the era of the great Scottish patriot. On one of the comers there is a weather-wom carving of the human face, which our cicerone informs us is a representation of the traitor Menteith. It is ugly enough in all conscience, but in this respect it is at least equalled by a similar carving at the opposite angle of the building, which is said to be “a counterfeit presentment” of the patriot chief. Ascending another flight of steps, and passing through an arched doorway, which is evidently of some antiquity, we arrive at the point where the rock divides into its twin peaks, and where there is a comparatively level space. Here the principal buildings, such as the armoury and the barracks, are situated. None of these are of great extent; and we must say that, as specimens of architecture, they are, one and all, decidedly shabby. According to the stipulations of the Act of Union, the castle has, in a certain sense, been kept in a state of repair, but as in other cases in which merely Scottish interests are involved, there has evidently been a due regard for economy in the management of matters. By a steep winding stair we now ascend the western and most elevated summit, which is surmounted by a tall flag-staff, and the remains of a circular tower which is supposed to have been of Roman origin. A most magnificent and far-extending prospect here greets the eye in every direction. The general features of the landscape, however, are somewhat similar to those observable from Dumbuck. We have the Clyde once more expanding at our feet in all its beauty, and stretching “ in linked sweetness long drawn out” from the very neighbourhood of our city to the shores of Bute and Arran. Beyond the junction of the Leven and the Clyde the green undulations of Cardross, with their woods and their gracefully winding beaches, although somewhat tame in character, are exceedingly pleasant to gaze upon. The low headland of Ardmore also, and the wooded peninsula of Roseneath in the distance, are spread before us in all their loveliness. The waves are sporting on the sands, and the winds are making a mimic ripple on the verdure of the fields, while the sea-birds are floating lazily over land and sea. The most attractive picture in the circle, however, is that which lies immediately to the north, although at present it is seen under a somewhat unfavourable sky. In the foreground is the town of Dumbarton, clustering on the margin of the Leven, with its shipbuilding yards, its wharfs, and its bridges, in all the bustle of vigorous and healthy life. The Leven, in many a sweet link, is seen slow winding from its parent lake beyond, among woods and lawns and villages and farms, on its brief but merry pilgrimage to the Clyde, while the far horizon is curtained by a very wilderness of hills and mountains. Preeminent among these, we should behold the giant shoulders of Benlomond, but, like a son of the mist, as he is, he has thought proper on the present occasion to hide himself in his invisible mantle, and is nowhere to be discovered. Some other day we shall thread the mazes of this classic vale, and skim the surface of the many-islanded lake at its head, when we shall doubtless find the cloud-hidden Ben, and haply place our foot upon his lofty crest. Meantime we must descend from our altitude. Visiting in succession the battery, where Queen Victoria held her court when she graced Dumbarton with her royal presence, the crystal spring from which the garrison was supplied in times of siege, and the ordnance stores upon the eastern peak, we are at length conducted to the armoury. This department is exhibited to strangers by a lady. Under her guidance we are conducted into a low room, containing a quantity of military stores. Specimens of grape, canister, and other kinds of shot, are successively submitted to our inspection, with shells, rockets, and other deadly missiles, the merest glance at which is sufficient to put one entirely out of conceit with the whole art of war. Our fair instructress, however, explains the uses of each invention dire with the most perfect coolness and composure, handling them one by one like so many ingenious playthings. Having satisfied our curiosity in relation to the construction of these interesting munitions of war, we are conducted up stairs to another apartment, which is devoted to the reception of arms of various kinds. There is here a stand of 1,000 muskets, apparently bran new, but really, we should imagine, of considerable age, as they seem to have been constructed before the invention of the percussion lock. We had ignorantly fancied that the flint and steel were completely out of fashion. This may be the case in other quarters, where they are given to change; but in the fortress of Dumbarton the military authorities adhere to the good old system. In the event of a hostile demonstration taking place in the Frith of Clyde (a circumstance not altogether beyond the bounds of possibility) we should doubtless have reason to admire this wise conservatism of the exploded firelock! The walls of the armoury are covered with pistols and other offensive weapons, among which are rusty .specimens of the Lochaber axe and the skene dim, picked up on ancient battle-fields. There are also several rudely-shaped pikes, which, we are gravely informed, were taken from the radicals at the battle of Bonnymuir, by the gallant yeomanry of the county. The most interesting object in the collection, however, is an immense sword, which is traditionally alleged to have belonged to the great hero of Scotland, Sir William Wallace. It is, in truth, a gigantic blade, and a swordsman of extraordinary power he must have been who was qualified to wield it. We know not on what evidence this instrument is ascribed to Wallace, but for a very long period indeed, it has been associated with his name; and we must admit that it was with a feeling of reverent awe that we received it into our hands. We know there are people who sneer at such manifestations; but the same parties could gaze unmoved upon the fields of Bannockburn and Falkirk, and we assuredly envy them not their cold-blooded philosophy. We trust the day will never arrive when Scotchmen will cease to cherish with an affectionate pride the memories of the great and good of other days, or fail to inspect with patriotic reverence, albeit it may be mingled with a dash of harmless credulity, such relics as the sword of Wallace. We may mention, that large as the blade alluded to is now, it has been somewhat curtailed of its fair proportions. A considerable fragment has been broken off the point. All signs of the fracture were obliterated, however, when it was taken to the Tower of London in 1825, with the intention of preserving it among the curiosities of that fortress. A strong feeling was naturally excited in Scotland by this ungracious removal of a precious national memorial, and after a short interval it was deemed expedient to restore it to its former and present resting-place.

We must now turn our back upon the lofty rock of the opening Frith. Few spots are so rich in memories as this, and in the rise and fall of races, few have borne so many names. It has been successively designated as Balclutha, Alcluid, Theodosia, Dunbritain, and Britannio-Dunum. Through many a rude and stormy age it has held a proud position as a place of strength; many a direful struggle for supremacy, many a fierce encounter it has witnessed, and through many an age unborn it will continue to bid defiance to the wind and the rain. In the far future, even as now, the sentimental pilgrim will come to gaze upon its hoary front, and to dream of Ossian and of Fingal, of Wallace and of Bruce, of Crawford and of Cromwell. As he lingers by these craggy peaks, the poet of coming years will see, in the light of his fond imaginings, the form of Scotia’s fair, ill fated queen, still haunting, as a troubled wraith, the precincts of the eastled steep, and in his moments of inspiration (long after the sceptre has fallen from her grasp) he shall picture to himself the royal lady who, in happier times, held court upon its brow in sunshine of the autumn noon. If there is hallowed ground in Scotland, surely it is upon the cliffy summit of Balclutha.

The town of Dumbarton is situated on the east bank of the Leven, a short distance above the point where it makes its debouchure into the Clyde. The principal, or Main Street, runs in a sort of curve, which coincides with a bend of the stream. This thoroughfare is about half a mile in length, and is intersected at various places by a number of smaller streets or wynds, which branch off irregularly to the east and west. At the end next the Castle stands the Parish Church—a plain edifice with a handsome tower—which is surrounded by a spacious burying ground, overshadowed in some places by umbrageous trees. The public offices, county prisons, and other local establishments, are situated in the suburbs. Bridge-end, the Gorbals of Dumbarton, is on the western or Cardross bank of the Leven, and is connected with the town by a bridge of five arches, which was erected about the middle of the last century. Dumbarton is a growing and vigorous community. Of late, its principal trade, that of shipbuilding, has prospered exceedingly. On both sides of the Leven there are now large establishments for the construction of timber and iron vessels; and during the last few years some of the most handsome specimens of marine architecture which this country has ever produced have been launched by the Dumbarton builders. Many hundreds of operatives are engaged in the various yards, and the din u of hammers closing rivets up,” resounds in this stirring locality from earliest mom till dewy eve restores tranquillity. An extensive forge has also been erected in the vicinity, which furnishes employment to many additional hands. In consequence of the recent impulse given to the industrial resources of the town, there has been a considerable increase in the population. According to the census of 1841 the number of inhabitants was 3,754; while in that of 1851 it had amounted to 4,546, of whom 2,345 were males, and 2,201 were females. There is thus a minority of the fair sex in Dumbarton, a circumstance which we imagine must exercise a favourable influence on the matrimonial prospects of 'Dumbarton’s bonnie belles!' These returns do not include^ we suspect, the large section of the community which is resident on the Cardross side of the river. For the accommodation of the increasing population a considerable number of new edifices have recently been erected, and many others are in process of erection. An additional suburb, containing 150 distinct domiciles, has recently been built in the neighbourhood of the railway station at Dalreoch. This handsome adjunct to the town is called Dennystown, in honour of its public-spirited projector and proprietor, William Denny, Esq., who, even as we write* has been untimely called from his earthly labours in the fortieth year of his age, and just as he had achieved the position to which he was entitled by his industry, intelligence, and perseverance.

"Oh why has worth bo short a date
While villains ripen gray with time?"

Apart from the Castle there is but little of general interest in the history of Dumbarton. It was made a royal burgh by Alexander II., in the year 1222, when extensive privileges were conferred upon it, such as the lordship of certain lands, and the right of fishing over a large tract of the neighbouring river. Additional charters were granted to the burgh by succeeding sovereigns, the provisions of which were ratified and confirmed by an Act of Parliament dated 13th December, 1609. This document, among other benefits, gave the burgesses of Dumbarton the right of levying dues on all foreign vessels entering the Clyde, and entitled them to demand that every vessel coming within their limits should break bulk at the quay, and give the inhabitants the first offer of their merchandise. These invidious privileges were subsequently the cause of many heart-burnings and disputes between the burghers of Glasgow and Dumbarton. Ultimately the difference was settled in 1700, by a contract entered into between the contending parties, by which, in consideration of having received 4,500 merks Scots, the Dumbarton authorities gave up the right of levying the aforesaid dues, and the contractors mutually agreed that vessels belonging to inhabitants of Glasgow and Port-Glasgow should not pay dues at the harbour of Dumbarton ; and on the other hand, that vessels belonging to burgesses of Dumbarton should have an equal exemption at the harbours of Glasgow and Port-Glasgow. This contract was confirmed by Act of Parliament in 1701. Since that period the Clyde Trustees have several times endeavoured to relieve themselves of this engagement, both by purchase and legislative enactment, but hitherto without success. Even so recently as last year fresh negotiations were entered into for this purpose, but without leading to anything like a satisfactory result. Dumbarton steamers and Dumbarton vessels of all kinds have still the run of the river, and the benefits of the Broomielaw, free of duty. The only relic of antiquity in the town is an arch which is said to have formed part of an ancient collegiate church, erected in 1450 by Isabella, Duchess of Albany and Countess of Lennox. This interesting structure formerly stood in the outskirts of the town, but on the formation of the railway, which passes over its former site, it was removed in 1850 to the front of the Burgh Academy, in Church Street. There is a somewhat inflated inscription upon the arch, with the date of its flitting, and a statement of the circumstances which led to its removal.

After spending an hour or two in the hospitable cottage of our friend, the editor of the Dumbarton Herald, we again set out on a leisurely saunter to the site of the ancient castle of Cardross. Crossing the Leven by the Dumbarton Bridge, from which a fine view of the river and both sections of the town is obtained, we proceed in a northerly direction to Dalreoch Toll. Turning to the left, by the Cardross Road, we arrive in a few minutes at the farm of Castlehill, which is situated a little to the right of the pathway. Adjacent to the farm offices, is a wood-covered knoll, which, on examination, presents unmistakeable evidences that at some former period it has been the site of a building of considerable extent. This is, indeed, the very spot on which stood the Castle of Cardross, the favourite residence and ultimately the death-scene of Robert the Bruce. The structure has entirely disappeared. Not one stone stands upon another, at least above the surface, to mark its position. Oblivion has claimed its own—ruin has ceased its long combat with time, and the grass grows rank and green over the dust of a royal home. There is something peculiarly affecting in the contemplation of this perfect victory achieved by the elements over a once proud work of human hands.

Cardross Castle, we have every reason to believe, was at one period an edifice of a most spacious and attractive kind. Its site commands an extensive prospect of the surrounding country, including two glimpses of the Clyde, which are respectively seen to the east and west, over the shoulders of an interesting range of undulating hills. After having driven the English invaders from his native land, and established its independence on a firm and lasting basis, the gallant Bruce was seized with a lingering and incurable illness. It was while labouring under this severe bodily affliction that the Scottish king retired to Cardross. In the intervals of his disease he found a princely recreation in the exercise of hunting, and in works of charity. He also indulged himself occasionally in architectural pursuits, gardening, and shipbuilding. The Dumbarton shipbuilders may pride themselves on having had a royal predecessor in their art. He also took a pleasure in decorating his residence, as the chamberlain’s accounts, which are still in existence, abundantly testify. The following items, extracted from this curious document, afford an interesting glance into the economy of the king’s household:—To green olive oil for painting the Royal chamber, 10s.; to chalk for painting it, 6d.; to a chalder of lime for whitewashing it, 8s.; to tin, nails, and glass, for the windows, 3s. 4d.; to reeds for the orchard, Is. 6d.; to a house for the falcons, 2s.; to a net for fish, 40s.; to bringing the king’s great ship from Tarbart, 28s.; to two masts for ships, 8s.; to conveying Peter the fool to Tarbart, Is. 6d.” The king also kept a lion at Cardross for his amusement, and delighted in falconry. At length, on the 7th of June, 1329, he breathed his last in his favourite abode. Previous to his departure, the old warrior called his barons and other officers of state to his bedside; and while they stood around him weeping, he tendered them his best advice in relation to the affairs of the nation. Old Froisart gives a beautiful and affecting account of the incidents which occurred on this melancholy occasion. Every one is aware that the dying king commissioned Sir James Douglas, in his last moments, to carry his heart to the holy sepulchre, and also of the fatal event which alone prevented that brave and gentle knight from fulfilling the farewell request of his beloved master. Bruce was interred in the Abbey Church of Dunfermline, and a handsome monument of marble was raised over his grave by his admiring and grateful countrymen.

After lingering in musing mood for a brief space on the . green mound, which is all that now remains of the princely castle of Cardross, we return to Dumbarton; and, having parted with a kind adieu from our friend, we take our place in "the last train,” and, by rail and steamer, are conveyed with all speed, comfort, and safety, to the city of our habitation.


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